The C. .G Jung Society of Northern Alaska will have its first Jung Midnight Sun Conference: Psyche, Nature, and Culture on June 24 and 25, 2016, in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Detailed information available at: http://jungalaskaconference.com
Rose F. Holt - Jungian Analyst Chicago, IL and St. Louis, MO
I was in a house I did not know, which had two stories. It was “my house.” I found myself in the upper story, where there was a kind of salon furnished with fine old pieces in rococo style. On the walls hung a number of precious old paintings. I wondered that this should be my house, and thought, “Not bad” But then it occurred to me that I did not know what the lower floor looked like. Descending the stairs, I reached the ground floor. There everything was much older, and I realized that this part of the house must date from about the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The furnishings were medieval; the floors were of red brick. Everywhere it was rather dark. I went from one room to another, thinking, “Now I really must explore the whole house.” I came upon a heavy door, and opened it. Beyond it, I discovered a stone stairway that led down into the cellar. Descending again, I found myself in a beautifully vaulted room which looked exceedingly ancient. Examining the walls, I discovered layers of brick among the ordinary stone blocks and chips of brick in the mortar. As soon as I saw this I knew that the walls dated from Roman times. My interest by now was intense. I looked more closely at the floor. It was of stone slabs, and in one of these I discovered a ring. When I pulled it, the stone slab lifted, and again I saw a stairway of narrow stone steps leading down into the depths. These, too, I descended, and entered a low cave cut into the rock. Thick dust lay on the floor, and in the dust were scattered bones and broken pottery, like remains of a primitive culture. I discovered two human skulls, obviously very old and half disintegrated. [p. 158-59]When Jung recounted the dream to Freud, Freud focussed on the two skulls and urged Jung to find the wish connected with them, the death-wish having a prominent place in Freud’s theory. A man has to “kill” the father to grow up. Rather than explore the dream for what it might have to reveal, Freud insisted on taking refuge in his theory. Jung, 34 years old at the time, didn’t have sufficient foundation within himself to challenge the famous authority Dr. Freud, so kept his thoughts to himself.
. . . “Odysseus had been warned by an oracle: ‘If you go to Troy, you will not return until the twentieth year, and then alone and destitute.’ He, therefore feigned madness, and Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Palamedes found him wearing a peasant’s felt cap shaped like a half-egg, and plowing with an ass and an ox yoked together, and flinging salt over his shoulder as he went. When he pretended not to recognize his distinguished guests Palamedes snatched the infant Telemachus from Penelope’s arms and set him on the ground before the advancing team. Odysseus hastily reigned them in to avoid killing his only son and his sanity having thus been established, was obliged to join the expedition.”An early attempt at draft dodging.
*There is something like an “eye” of a camera or a “watcher” that captures the dream and presents it as a memory to waking consciousness.These are the assumptions, the working hypotheses that I’ve settled on over decades of working with dreams, my own and those of many others.
*Every dream is an attempt to help us heal and move us toward wholeness.
*Every dream is a comment on our life situation.
*Threads from any dream can and do lead into many, many areas of our lives.
*Through patient attention to our dreams, we can make contact with and enter into a meaningful dialogue with the unconscious. [By unconscious, I simply mean the source of those factors that influence and impact our lives in unknown ways.]
*The unconscious turns to us the face we turn to it. We ignore it; it ignores us.
*Every dream is given to us for the purpose of healing past hurts, enlarging our perspective, and/or integrating portions of our personality.
*The dream brings new information to compensate or complement our waking attitudes.
*Our life energy, or libido, is personified in dreams, as if the psyche or the unconscious wants to draw us into a living relationship.
*Relationships with inner figures can be as important, enriching, and rewarding as relationships with people in our outer lives. [SLIDE 9]
*Our inner and outer lives are in some way mirrors of each other. Dream work can provide for a more harmonious balance between the two.
*The psyche has a teleological aspect, i.e., it is working towards a goal or purpose. Further, it seeks our participation and cooperation.
*The unconscious both conceals and reveals itself. It both yearns to be seen, yet is reluctant.
*In analysis, a secured-symbolizing field is certainly necessary for the individual. Such a field is also necessary for the unconscious. [Therapeutic containers are the “safe and secured spheres or circles in which ‘heavy’ things can safely happen.” This is the sense in which I use the phrase, “secured-symbolizing field.”] The element of trust is of utmost importance in any depth work with another person. In Jungian circles the expression “sacred temenos” is often used to describe the field that needs to be established for analysis.
*The dream can speak with more authority than any human voice.
“After the parting of the ways with Freud, a period of inner uncertainty began for me. … I felt it necessary to develop a new attitude toward my patients. I resolved for the present not to bring any theoretical premises to bear upon them, but to wait and see what they would tell of their own accord. My aim became to leave things to chance. The result was that the patients would spontaneously report their dreams and fantasies to me, and I would merely ask, ‘What occurs to you in connection with that?’ or, ‘How do you mean that, where does that come from, what do you think about it?’ The interpretations seemed to follow of their own accord from the patients’ replies and associations. I avoided all theoretical points of view and simply helped the patients to understand the dream-images by themselves, without application of rules and theories. Soon I realized that it was right to take the dreams in this way as the basis of interpretation, for that is how dreams are intended. They are the facts from which we must proceed.” [Pp. 170-71]Let’s move on now to discuss some specific dreams, dreams that proved helpful to the individual. After all, what good is any understanding if it doesn’t in some way enhance our day-to-day living? What I most like about Jungian Psychology is that it has practical and helpful application, nowhere more than in its use of dream interpretation
I was running along a ridge, following behind a group of runners. We came to a deep chasm, and they all just leapt across. I stopped, knowing there was no way I could jump across. It was too wide. Then, a man and woman appeared on my side of the chasm and went up to a switch that turned off the current of the electric fence at the bottom. They then walked arm and arm down the hill and up the other side. I realized that I could just keep practicing jumping and maybe eventually be able to jump over.The dreamer’s (I will call her Marion) answers to the questions about her associations all centered about a personal dilemma she was feeling very strongly. Revisiting the dream a few years later, she wrote the following:
“I had been deeply upset, saddened and depressed over (a personal matter). It was a death of sorts, and I couldn’t get over it. The chasm certainly symbolized that to me. The couple knew how to “disconnect” the current to get across. After much discussion, I realized that I needed to disconnect from feelings that were holding me back. Often, it seemed disloyal or unfeeling to move on, but the dream showed me how to disconnect from feelings that kept me blocked from going where I wanted to go.”There is a lot packed into this first dream, symbols of the chasm, a strong current that stops the dreamer; another connection of a man and a woman, a coupling, who represent helpful elements in the unconscious; and the hope and promise of change. Figures in the dream show Marion the way through her dilemma. The dream had a profound and lasting effect. And, of course, the “watcher” provided the dreamer a broader perspective on her situation.
I discovered that my mother and her two sisters had been secretly keeping my grandmother (their mother) alive for years. However, when I was face to face with my grandmother, I saw that her eyes were brown instead of the vivid blue they were when was alive. I said, “No, this is not Grandma. Her eyes were blue.” At that moment I touched her arm. Her eyes turned blue, and I knew it was she.Shortly after this dream, Sara discovered she was pregnant. The night before the child was born, she dreamed that her grandmother came through the front door of her house. Later she told me that when she awoke she knew the dream was announcing the birth. Sure enough, on that day she went into labor.
My grandmother comes to my house. She tells me she is bored and needs a new craft.I asked her what she made of this Grand Mother dream. She looked very startled. Later she told me that on the way home she bought a pregnancy test. She discovered, much to her surprise, that she was again pregnant.
My grandmother comes to tell me her work is done. The scene shifts. There is to be an elaborate funeral for her in a huge theater. All my grandmother’s progeny are ushered into the place. The funeral service is more beautiful and moving than I can possibly describe. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.These dreams were all deeply moving and held great meaning for Sara. She felt very much supported and loved by this grandmother who, when she was a young child, had been so loving and gracious to her. The dreams helped her realize that this loving and supportive Great Mother continued her presence in Sara’s life. No earthly person could have reassured and supported Sara in the ways these dreams did.
President Obama is on the deck behind our house. He is bowing reverently before my madonna statue.For Joann this was a profound, even numinous, dream. She experienced it as a gift. In her associations she talked about her admiration for the president, how she felt he had his values in the right place, and was able to press on in spite of extremely trying circumstances. A cradle Catholic, for Joann the madonna is a symbol of great import though she left the Catholic church a long time ago. Joann always made her role as mother a priority and is now playing a formative role in the lives of her grandchildren. She spoke at length about all that her maternal dedication still requires of her.
The following is an essay to be published in the September-October issue of "The Pathfinder": Shall We Gather at the River? ...